Things I learned from Pretty Woman

Slippery little suckersThe way I reference movies in this blog, you’d think I was a major movie buff like my friend Bo or my cousin Marcia. I’m really not, but I tend to think of examples from movies to make my point. Who knows why.

So, you know that scene in Pretty Woman where he tells her that she’s a very bright, very special woman, and she responds, “the bad stuff is easier to believe”?

Why is this?

This morning I read a scripture that I’ve seen a thousand times, but in a new light. (Amazing how that happens if you stick with it.) John 16:33 AMP says, I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

It’s a really good promise, right? And it’s easy for us to believe the first part of this verse, but the second part? Not so much.

I know very well that in this world I will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but am I equally confident in the promise that He has overcome the world, and deprived it of its power to harm me?

That’s harder.

Through His work on the cross, Jesus Christ overcame the world, for me. But to live my life inside the protective benefits of His accomplishment, I have to believe it and act on it, by faith… taking steps, even leaps, without seeing the floor. His Word and His promises will sit there with no power unless I believe them and act on them.

So this morning, I thanked God that through Him, I am an overcomer. I thanked God that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I reminded the devil that he is defeated through the all-powerful and all-encompassing Blood of the Lamb which covers me and my family. And I forged ahead.

And when I slip and fall, which I tend to do, God will catch me and perhaps exclaim, “Slippery little sucker.”

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A year has gone by

A year has gone by in a blink, and yet much has changed. The ground around her grave marker is level and the grass has filled in. Her grandchildren are taller and more amazing, if that’s even possible.

Her laughter is softer in my mind, but the lessons I learned from her are as sharp as ever. The warmth of her hugs has faded but her legacy burns brightly.

Life has moved forward and things have changed, but our faithful Father God has not. Jackie is missed here on Earth, but she’s rejoicing in Heaven with many loved ones. And God’s loving arms have encircled those of us left behind without ceasing. He is so good.

There is joy here, there is love here. There is family here.

My heart aches and soars at the same time.

Love you, Jackie.

Love… for the win

Love for the winI love the movie Little Women. In one scene after Great Aunt March passes away, Marmee exclaims about the old, drafty house she left behind, “Her blessings became a burden because she couldn’t share them.” That may be the only thing to come out of that particular actress’s mouth that I have ever and will ever agree with.

…Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything… (From 1 Peter 4 The Message)

What do you have to offer? Offer it. What do you have to share? Share it. And love like your life depends on it. Do it so God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit. I can’t say it any better.

Be the miracle in someone’s life. Be the conduit through which God helps someone back to their feet. That’s real love. And yes, I know it can be risky. We’ve all felt the sting of giving love that isn’t returned or is mocked. But that’s the very definition of love. We give it even when it isn’t deserved. Jesus certainly loves us whether or not we deserve it. And if you think about it, do any of us really deserve His love? I know I don’t.

So if I’m supposed to be like Him, then I have to love like Him. Love sent Him to the cross. And through His perfect love for me, I am saved.

Love won on Calvary. Love still wins today.

Mortal combat

Mortal combatLife and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) You can bring life to something, or you can kill it stone dead. Your mouth, your words, it’s all your choice.

I recently heard a preacher talking about dealing with sickness, and specifically how to believe God for healing. He made a point that I may have heard a thousand times but I heard it differently this time. I heard it in a deeper and more all-encompassing way and it changed my thinking completely.

He said, “You have to speak to the sickness like it’s a living, breathing entity that’s trying to kill you.” He was specifically talking about cancer. He said, “That cancer is a deadly enemy, and its sole purpose is to kill you. One of you is going to die; either the cancer will die, or you will die.”

In that moment, I saw in my mind an image of a massive oak tree with branches spreading out to all the areas in our lives where we have to engage in this kind of mortal combat. There is much beyond just sickness. The truth is, we need to attack whatever it is that comes against us with this ferocity; speak to it directly, with faith and in authority, and command it to go.

How do we get that authority? We get in the Word and find out what God has to say about it. Then we believe it; really believe it and not question it. You can’t make an enemy leave you alone unless you are convinced of its defeat. You can’t command that thing to go unless you have the revelation knowledge and understanding that Jesus bore that on the cross so you don’t have to.

And you know what? It doesn’t make sense to me that I have a right to tell sickness to leave my body because Someone else paid the price for my healing. I don’t fully understand why Jesus did it, but it’s my job to know that He did, and armed with that information, I can step into battle and win.

Tweak me, oh Lord

Tweak me oh LordRecently, I was reminded of a Bible story about a Pharisee and a tax collector who went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee was very pleased with himself saying, “Thank You that I am not like these other people. I’ve got my life together.” The tax collector buried his face in his hands and said, “I’m not even worthy to look in Your face, but I repent of my sin and I want to make things right with You.”

The story concludes like this: I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:14 AMP)

Which one are we?

No matter what a giant in the faith we may be, at times we all need a course correction. The only One that didn’t was Jesus. But He was tender enough before The Lord to be open to tweaking. Remember when He said, “If there is any other way, please let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, thy will be done”?

Many cups will pass before us all. We get to decide how we’re going to handle them. I’m open to God’s tweaking. Are you?